Micro Visions Explores AVG Privacy PolicyOn October 15th, AVG Technologies will implement their new privacy policy. In an effort to be completely transparent, the Czech company recently issued a statement outlining how it will be gathering and sharing the information collected from those who choose to download and use the free version of their security software. The information was very candid, and basically confirmed that the company can and does intend to use its customer's data for its own purposes, including sharing it with a variety of AVG-related companies. While the practice of sharing personal information is certainly not new and in fact utilized by most large businesses these days, many users seemed surprised that their security company would be joining in the game.

If you have the free version of AVG installed on your computer, we encourage you to thoroughly read the notice sent to you by AVG. For a TL:DR version, please reference this recent article published by PCMag.com. We've posted the article below, or you can click this link to see the full article from their site which will open in a new window. 

-Micro Visions


AVG Updates Privacy Policy, Will Sell Your Non-Identifying Data

by David Murphy

We'll give security firm AVG a little credit: At least it isn't trying to be deceptive about what it might do with your data. Unfortunately, its updated plan to collect your browser history (and a list of any searches you've made while using said browser)—"non-personal data," as the company describes—does leave some users of its free apps a bit skeptical.

According to a new report from Wired, AVG has updated its privacy policy to note that the company fully intends to use this information—data that shouldn't identify you in any way—to make money. Its justification is that it provides security apps for free, and this is one of the few ways it can continue to do so. AVG's updated policy reads:

"We collect non-personal data to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free, including:

  • Advertising ID associated with your device
  • Browsing and search history, including meta data
  • Internet service provider or mobile network you use to connect to our products
  • Information regarding other applications you may have on your device and how they are used."

AVG also notes that it might anonymize and aggregate data that it would otherwise consider to be personally identifying for individual users.

"For instance, although we would consider your precise location to be personal data if stored separately, if we combined the locations of our users into a data set that could only tell us how many users were located in a particular country, we would not consider this aggregated information to be personally identifiable," AVG's privacy policy notes.

AVG representatives told Wired that its practices haven't changed; rather, they're just reworded in the new privacy policy that goes into effect on October 15. In previous policies, AVG described that it could collect data for "the words you search," but that's as deep as the description got. There wasn't a mention of collecting users' browser histories, nor any indication that AVG was taking that data and selling it to others.

"Those users who do not want us to use non-personal data in this way will be able to turn it off, without any decrease in the functionality our apps will provide. While AVG has not utilised data models to date, we may, in the future, provided that it is anonymous, non-personal data, and we are confident that our users have sufficient information and control to make an informed choice," an AVG spokesperson told Wired.